Beginner Body Weight Workout: Lose Weight, Build Muscle ANYWHERE!

So you want to get in shape, but you have no gym membership and don’t know what to do. 

Ruh roh…

That’s fine, you don’t need one to get in great shape! You can work out anywhere, like me in the photo above, doing push-ups on a cliff in South Africa. Because why not!

Commercial gyms are tough places to work out anyways:

They’re home to pushy salesman, intimidating jacked dudes grunting into a mirror, and other members that aren’t very welcoming.

Luckily, you can burn fat, build muscle, and get a great workout using just your body weight – no gym required.

Cardio can actually be one of the least efficient methods of burning calories (which I explain below). 

Why not give bodyweight training a try and be more efficient with your time?

We know starting with this stuff can be intimidating, which is why we’ve built a 7-level, no-gym required, bodyweight training system (with boss battles, workout plans, HD-video demonstrations, a nutrition and mindset roadmap, and  supportive community) in our flagship course The Nerd Fitness Academy.

Today however, you can get started with our free bodyweight circuit below in the comfort of your own home: you’ll complete one exercise right after the other without stopping, you’re both building muscle and getting a cardiovascular workout.

Combine that with a good diet and you got yourself a kick-ass plan to follow!

Why BodyWeight Circuits Kick Ass

What makes bodyweight circuits work so well?

Every exercise involved utilizes multiple muscle groups, gets your heart rate pumping, and burns tons of calories.

Essentially, circuit weight training, or circuit bodyweight training, burns more calories than interval training, and that in turn burns WAY more calories than steady cardio. When you strength train, you burn calories. Then, your body needs to spend hours and hours afterwards rebuilding your muscles, which in turns burns even more calories (they call this the ‘afterburn effect).

As we cover in the Academy and throughout Nerd Fitness, our nutrition will account for 80-90% of our success or failure when it comes to getting in shape, might as well spend our time exercising being efficient and strong, right?

If you’re trying to lose weight, spending hours doing cardio on a treadmill is a really crappy, boring, inefficient use of your time.

If you’re a busy person (and I know you are), why spend hours doing something when you can be MORE efficient and build a better physique with less time?

Enter the beginner bodyweight workout.

I’m going to take you through a basic workout today that can be completed in your house, apartment, out at a park, in your basement, on the moon, wherever.

As always, make sure you are cleared by your personal physician for physical activity before attempting these exercises.

Beginner Body Weight Workout

This is a basic body weight circuit.

In a circuit routine, you’ll do each exercise in succession without a break in between (if you’re able).  Once you’ve finished all exercises in the circuit, do it again.

If you’re still able after the 2nd run through, go for a third.

Because all of these exercises come one after another, you’re bound to get tired – and that’s okay! We all start somewhere.

It’s better to stop and take a break than to do an exercise incorrectly.  If you can’t do all three circuits without stopping, great! That gives you something to work towards.

Before you start, don’t forget WARM UP – Never ever ever ever forget to warm up.  Make sure to get your heart rate pumping and get your muscles warm or you’re just asking for injury.

You can run in place, jump rope, do a few push ups, pedal on a stationary bike, do some punches and kicks, jog up and down your stairs, and/or twist and swing your arms and legs to get them moving!  Give it about 5 minutes, and don’t wear yourself out completely, but get your heart rate elevated and little bit of sweat never hurt anybody.

After the warm up, here is exactly what you need to do:

  • 20 bodyweight squats
  • 10 push ups
  • 20 walking lunges – 10 each leg
  • 10 dumbbell rows (using a gallon milk jug or another weight)
  • 15 second plank
  • 30 jumping jacks

After you’ve completed your workout, do some stretches. All of your muscles have been contracted from lifting and need to be stretched back out and rebuilt.

For either the body weight squats or lunges, if you can’t do them properly yet, it’s okay to put your hand on a support to keep your balance.

For the body weight squats, think of it like sitting back into a chair. If you can sit down onto a chair, and then stand immediately right back up without having to lean forward, you are in balance.

For the lunges, keep your eyes ahead and your upper body completely vertical. I had a slight bend at times in the video due to trying to exercise and explain at the same time.

I used a milk jug for my dumbbell, but you can use whatever is heavy enough for you. Find something that is challenging to lift 10 times in a row.

Do this routine 2-3 times a week, but never on consecutive days.  You don’t build muscle when you’re exercising, you build muscle when you’re resting.

Generally I like follow a pattern of strength training on one day, then 20 minutes of interval training on the next, then strength training, then interval training, and so on.

Generally, I try not to do a strength training routine (of the same muscle groups) two days in a row, as your muscles need plenty of time to recover.

Along with this routine, you need to make sure you’re eating properly!

A good workout and crappy diet will not get you anywhere.

Lots of real foods (vegetables, protein, healthy fats). Eat natural, whole foods whenever possible, and leave the soda, candy, and junk food out of your system.

Your diet is at least 80% of your success or failure. I’m not kidding when I say that. If you don’t develop a healthier relationship with food, no amount of exercise will get you there.

It’s why we developed a 10-level nutrition system and mindset blueprint in the Academy, but you can start today by just making adjustments to your food currently:

  • Sugar is worse than Jar Jar Binks – cut back on sugar and liquid calories wherever you can. The stuff is in everything!
  • Swap out the grains on your plate for vegetables when you can
  • Make sure you get enough protein each day – this helps with rebuilding muscles and things like that.

Help Me Help You

Thanks for reading up to this point – I hope you had a great time getting stronger and challenging yourself in a new way. Strength Training is one of the pillars of Nerd Fitness – it makes literally every part of life better, will improve your physique, help you lose fat and build strength and muscle, and it can be done quickly, anywhere.

Stick with it! Do this routine a few times a week and note how much better you get at it.

If doing just one circuit of the workout was really challenging, read the PS below. We’ve got you covered!

-Steve

PS: If you’re looking for tons of bodyweight workout plans (with different levels of difficulty), high definition video demonstrations of each exercise, boss battles, a full questing system, more than a dozen more workouts, and a full guide on how to eat properly, check out the Nerd Fitness Academy!  

PPS: If this routine is too easy for you, I have an Advanced Body Weight Circuit too.  You’ve been warned 🙂

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  • Yash Chakarpani

    i’m a beginner and really wanted to work upon my body but confused what to do can you please help me!!!!!!

  • Jack

    Does this work even if I’m really fat? I know it’ll take more time. But I’m just asking.

  • Vandini

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

  • Kesha

    This workout has helped me to break through a workout plateau… Thanks so much!!

  • Mohammad Kaosar

    Yes I hate going Gym..then I bought Stamina ATS air rower machine. Now I feel really good rowing 15 to 20 minutes daily. It gives me full body workout chance.

  • Skyatch

    What do you mean by “20 minutes of interval training”? What is interval training?

  • Deep

    But , Steve in the ebook you have said that “5) Don’t try fat loss and muscle gain at the same time.
    These goals are in opposite directions. Don’t ride two horses with one saddle. If you need to lose
    weight/fat first, do that first. Then, build muscle” Then why this workout , Bro ?

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  • Alexander Wirbergh

    she said she lost 24 kg in 8 week, and that she (now) weigh 56, it means she probably have been doing that for 10 weeks and lost an extra 10 kg. + I dont belive she lost that much in 8 weeks anyways, mayby if she stopped eating 🙂

  • Alexander Wirbergh

    did u mean. now I weigh 56 kilosand or now I weigh 56 kilogram

  • biology is life

    hi i am a medicine student, about the cholesterol it comes with obesity and of course the high intake of fats rich in cholesterol, so losing weight lowers the risk of getting heart disease cuz of cholesterol. please be sure to take care of your health and try to be fit always, enjoy ur life 🙂 .

  • Zan

    Hi… I’m a vegetarian who is gluten free (bc of being celiac). I’m still really overweight though and hoping to follow this nerd thing…. will. Be able to follow Paleo diet even if i don’t eat animals?

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  • Wesley Lofton

    What’s wrong with grains? As long as they’re not full of sugar or refined, there’s nothing wrong with grains. Plus grains are great for cholesterol.

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  • Tom

    Hi Steve,
    I’ve been doing this workout for a few weeks now and its been really challenging but great! You said to do the work out only thrice a week. On the other days I used to go for short sprints with breaks in between. However, its really cold now and I can’t go running in the morning without my nose turning to ice. What do I do on the days between the bodyweight workout? They feel quite empty and exerciseless now. Should I just sit and rest or is there something better I could do?

  • Tom

    I agree with those saying you should start a YT channel if you don’t have one. You have great presence and give clear instruction. Go for it :). It’s easier to monetize with Patreon these days than it is with email subs. Granted it’s more of a long game than an ebook or w/e, but it’s probably more sustainable. Who knows how long the site will last but the concept itself is well established now.

    Was diagnosed with T2 D at 255 lbs. Switched to ketogenic (paleo) diet and dropped to 227 in 1.5 months with no exercise while eating a ton of fat. Am starting exercise program soon as final component of blood sugar control (not taking meds or insulin right now and don’t plan to) and am grateful to have found such a simple routine to start with.

  • Tom

    Guys stop upvoting spam, lol.

  • Tom

    Ketogenic diet works wonders. Look into it.

  • Tom

    “of course the high intake of fats rich in cholesterol.” They are teaching outdated, bad science. For the vast majority of people, dietary cholesterol does not increase blood cholesterol. Oh, and eating fat does not make you fat *unless* you’re also eating a ton of carbohydrates, AKA, the standard American diet. If you eat low carb, you can eat as much fat as you want (and it would be very hard to eat too much as fat is very satiating) because your body will have to convert that fat into glucose just to keep you alive.

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  • Trey Blount

    you’re, you, jumping jacks. If you are going to insult people’s interests, at least sound smart.